I stayed in a hotel on Saturday.
Courtesy of some friends, the most generous people in the entire world (it’s true – I’ve checked), we wallowed in five star luxury in St. James’s.
I like two types of hotel. Really, really good ones that you rarely find in England, or cheap and rough motels of the American model. I will accept the Holidaypremiertravelinn experience if I’m using it just for a place to crash out and somebody else is paying. I like staying in pubs, for obvious reasons, and rough seaside B&Bs appeal to my puritan and seedy streak.
The hotels I hate are the really, really mediocre ones that pretend to be really, really good ones.
You can identify these by two factors:
After being patronised by the check-in assistant you find that your room, whilst ostensibly plush, contains at least one fitting that has been bodged at an angle that isn’t quite straight. There are also two old rawlplugged holes in the bathroom wall, that nobody has bothered to make good.
There is a sign hoping that you share their concerns about the environment, so possibly won’t want your towels washed every day.
It’s this second thing that gets me so livid. The fucking weasels – yeah right, it’s not about ECONOMICS, perchance? Show me that you invest in eco washing powder, recycle all your plastics and glass, and pay and train your staff more than the bare, bare, Dickensian minimum, and I’ll chip in with my laundry contribution. Otherwise I’m going to piss on each towel individually then hold a dirty protest in the bedchamber before I leave.
Anyway, as I say, this was a genuinely good hotel. They were happy to give me clean towels without dripping hypocricy about it, and in return I did not soil the walls.
So we checked in, ambled through Bond Street, went to a restaurant, clothes-shopped in Selfridges, took a taxi back to the hotel, watched the end of the day’s test match on the room’s widescreen TV, took a glass of champagne, dined in the private room, retired to the American Bar and tasted malt whiskies until the early hours.
It felt good to see the real London.
Returning to the cottage yesterday, the lounge still uninhabitable and the whole place stinking of wood treatment, I would have given anything for a nice hotel room. Even one with previously-enjoyed towels. (By me.)
I folded the end of the bog roll into a triangle and charged the LTLP £8.95 for bringing her a small sandwich, but it just wasn’t the same.